Countdown to high school football season begins for SSHS
By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor
July 31, 2007 - The countdown is on for the start of the high school football season, and it's down to less than a week.
Sulphur Springs freshmen, JV and varsity football players have six days of summer left before they report for the start of two-a-day practices on Monday, Aug. 6.
The Wildcats will still be going through two practice sessions a day, but this year both sessions will be in the morning, explained SSHS head coach Greg Owens.
Varsity and JV teams will practice from 7 a.m. to about 9:30, then take an hour off to rest before hitting the field again at 10:30 a.m. for another practice that will wind up at noon or a little after.
"The old school two-a-days, where you come in the morning and you come in the evening, that's kind of gone," Owens said. "That's simply because it's easier on kids and easier on coaches to do it one session. I think it keeps the kids fresher, and I know it keeps the coaches fresher. "
In the hour break, Owens wants the players to re-hydrate themselves with Gatorade and water and to eat a light snack, like a sandwich. They will stay at the school during the downtime.
"I like it. The kids don't have to try to find rides twice a day, they are out of here by 12:30 and they've got the rest of the day to do whatever they want. They can work or they can relax and rest," Owens said. "It gives them a little more break. And the coaches, too.
"The coaches will still be here until 3 or 4 o'clock, but we're not here until 11 o'clock and coming back at 5 in the morning. So, that works out well."
Freshmen players will also report on Monday. They will go through one practice session, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Varsity and JV players need to report by 6:30 and no later than 6:45 a.m. to be able to be on the field stretching by 7 a.m. Their lockers have already been stocked with equipment by the coaching staff.
Freshmen are asked to report no later than 8:30 a.m. on Monday.
Owens foresees being able to focus less on conditioning during two-a-days than last year because of the players' commitment to the summer conditioning program called The Edge.
"We're kind of ahead of the game in that respect," Owens explained. "Summer workouts went well, really well. We had great participation. Varsity kids, we had about 80 percent here on a regular basis. Now, there was a handful that we didn't see at all. But, for the most part, the guys were committed and were here."
Seniors were ahead of the curve. He said 92 percent of the Wildcat 12th-grade football players were regulars at The Edge.
"That's the way it is in today's world. You've got to come in in-shape," Owens said. "You've got to be bigger, you've got to be faster, and you definitely have to be stronger in every sport to be part of the elite. I think that's a mentality of the kids that we're still trying to get over to them that it's hard work so let's get out here and get after it."